NBA Playoffs Best Bets of the Night: Monday, April 18

Tobias Harris, Philadelphia 76ers
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Tonight, we have three first-round Game 2 matchups.

The Raptors will be playing their second game in Philly while Dallas attempts to defend the home floor after being upset by Donovan Mitchell and the Utah Jazz in Game 1.

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Best Bets of The Night

Game: Toronto Raptors at Philadelphia 76ers - 7.5 (PHI leads 1-0)

Tyrese Maxey scored 38 points on Saturday to lead the 76ers to a 20-point Game 1 victory over Toronto. Maxey was the star of the game, but other players stepped up other than Joel Embiid. Although the MVP frontrunner had 15-rebound and 19-point double-double, Tobias Harris really stepped it up to produce 26 points (9-14 FG), six rebounds, six assists, one steal, and one block. James Harden also had himself a 14-assist and 22-point double-double. If Harris and Harden can keep scoring 20+ points per night to complement Maxey and Embiid, the 76ers should sail through this first-round series. In addition, Toronto’s talented rookie Scottie Barnes tweaked his left ankle in the second half of Game 1 after producing 15 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists in 31 minutes on the floor. Fortunately, the Raptors reported that X-rays taken this weekend on Barnes’ ankle came back negative., Raptors HC Nick Nurse indicated that in addition to Barnes, Thaddeus Young and Gary Trent Jr. are doubtful for tonight's game.

On the other hand, Philadelphia has no injury concerns on their roster besides bench players Charles Bassey and Jaden Springer, who both averaged less than 7.5 minutes per game this season. In other words, Toronto’s roster has taken a big hit after Game 1 while Philadelphia's has remained completely healthy. In Game 2, the Raptors should have a much harder time competing for a win in Philadelphia than in Game 1 where they still got blown out.

The Pick: Philadelphia 76ers - 7.5

Game: Utah Jazz at Dallas Mavericks +5 (UTA leads 1-0)

Yesterday, it was reported that Luka Doncic is doubtful for Game 2 of Dallas’ first-round series against the Utah Jazz. Though he is making progress, it is very unlikely for him to play tonight. Without him in Game 1, Spencer Dinwiddie and Jalen Brunson started together and both produced 20+ points, 5+ assists, and 4+ rebounds. Nonetheless, Donovan Mitchell erupted for 30 points in the second half, to lead Utah to a narrow 99-93 Game 1 road victory over the Mavs. In total, five players on the Mavericks scored in double-figures, and the game was very close despite Luka’s absence. In fact, the Mavs held the lead for most of the game. If it wasn't for Spider Mitchell's heroics, Dallas might have held the lead. Dallas cannot afford to lose a second home game, and even though Luka is out, Dinwiddie and Brunson are producing some great numbers to make up for Doncic’s absence. Even if the Mavs lose, they’ll keep things interesting and competitive as they did in game 1. In addition, there is no chance Donovan Mitchell has a consecutive 30-point second half.

The Pick: Dallas Mavericks +5

Game: Denver Nuggets at Golden State Warriors -7 (GSW leads 1-0)

Stephen Curry saw limited minutes in his return to the Warriors. Still, he scored 16 points in 22 minutes. Regardless, it’s almost as if his services weren’t needed. Golden State was going to win with him in or out. That’s because Jordan Poole is proving that he can shoot just as well, if not better than Curry and Thompson on certain nights. In Game 1, Jordan Poole scored 30 points (9-13 FG) going five-of-seven from downtown. Klay Thompson also joined Poole to knock down five threes in Game 1.

Other key players included first-time All-Star Andrew Wiggins who scored 16 points, and Draymond Green, who produced 12 points, nine assists, six rebounds, and three blocks. The Warriors looked like the strongest team in the West after their Game 1 win over Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets. Even if Curry plays limited minutes again in Game 2, the Warriors should win in fashion in front of the home crowd in Game 2.

The Pick: Golden State Warriors -7

Tonight’s NBA Player Props

Game: Toronto Raptors at Philadelphia 76ers - 7.5 (PHI leads 1-0)

Prop: OG Anunoby, Over 16.5 Points

Since Scottie Barnes will be inactive in Game 2, OG Anunoby will likely see more opportunities to score than he did in Game 1. Even in Game 1, Anunoby scored 20 points (9-15 FG) in the same game that Scottie Barnes scored 15. There’s a better chance for him to score 20+ points tonight than there was in Game 1 with Scottie Barnes and Thaddeus Young inactive. With those players out, Anunoby will be the team's best available win. As a result, it would make sense for him to replicate or exceed his strong performance in the first game of the series.

Prop: Tyrese Maxey, Over 18.5 Points

Not only did Tyrese Maxey score 38 points on Saturday, but he also did so on 14-of-21 shooting from the field, and five-of-seven shooting from beyond the arc. It seems that the 76ers want Maxey, and not James Harden, to be their true shooting guard. In turn, Harden is really shaping up to be the team's main ball-handler. Doc Rivers has used Tyrese Maxey as a scorer especially since Harden arrived. While Maxey has averaged 4.3 assists per game this season, Harden has averaged 10.5 assists per game in his first 21 games as a 76er. Maxey is becoming one of the 76ers best scoring options. In 30+ minutes of play in Game 2, I would be surprised if Maxey scored less than 20 points.

Prop: Tobias Harris, Over 1.5 Threes

Tobias Harris’ offensive production took a hit this season. Harris went from scoring 19.5 PPG on 51.2% shooting from the field during the 2020-21 NBA season, to 17.2 PPG on 48.2% shooting this year. In two of his last three games of the regular season, Harris scored eight points or less shooting less than 40% from the field in both nights. In his first playoff game this postseason, Harris erupted for 26 points (9-14 FG) and played a crucial role in Philadelphia’s big Game 1. Harris needed a game like this to get him going for the playoffs. He went three-of-five from downtown in Game 1. For Harris, I am hoping that Game 1 has boosted his confidence enough for him to bring that swagger throughout the first round. The veteran SF should hit at least two three-pointers in Game 2 of this first-round series.

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